Before and After: This IKEA BILLY is now a gallery-inspired corner in a chic home

The minimalist favorite is now an exhibition space – with sculptural accents and fluted details

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack
(Image credit: @aylinterior)

IKEA’s BILLY bookcase is best-known for showcasing various literature classics and hardbacks, but this latest transformation focuses on a different form of the art world. Instead of filling the minimalist classic with beloved novels, this IKEA hack creates an art-filled exhibition space that wouldn’t look out of place in a gallery. 

Germany-based designer Aylin (@aylinterior (opens in new tab)) elevated her flatpack into a sophisticated statement that can provoke excitement in the interior design and art worlds – but how can you recreate its look in your home? In conversation with Livingetc, Aylin shared an insight into the IKEA BILLY bookcase hack of the moment. 

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: @aylinterior)

Aylin started the transformation the way every IKEA makeover begins, with a trip to the Scandinavian powerhouse to pick up three white BILLY (opens in new tab) units. She then set up the cupboards as desired (with help from the IKEA manual). 

The designer then attached 5cm wide wooden strips between the cupboards to ensure the units appeared as one large cupboard – rather than three separate pieces in the space. This gives the furnishing a bespoke look that separates it from its original roots. 

The designer then filled the holes with silicone before concealing the gaps between the strips with a spatula. 

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: @aylinterior)

To conclude the transformation, Aylin painted the units in Jute by Illinois-based paint brand Rust-Oleum. You can pick up the same shade on Amazon here (opens in new tab). She then attached bows before arranging her sculpted vases that give the unit a gallery-like aesthetic. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aylin’s modern decorating idea made waves on Instagram, where the followers flooded the transformation with love. Admirers include interiors label JOOP! LIVING who shared that the hack is beautiful, and we are inclined to agree. 

It was via Instagram that the designer also shared that the black vases (pictured above) share a similar heritage to the BILLY. They are the PÅDRAG (opens in new tab) clear glass, spraypainted in black paint, for an entirely different look. Becasue the only thing better than one IKEA hack is when two come together so effortlessly. 

IKEA BILLY bookcase hack

(Image credit: @aylinterior)

From the PÅDRAG to the BILLY, the time has come to make the investment. Which hack will you bein with? 

Megan Slack
News Writer

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc’s homes titles, including Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. As a News Writer, she often focuses on micro-trends, wellbeing, celebrity-focused pieces, and everything IKEA. 


Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and expansive collection of houseplants.